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17 Jun 2022

What We Dislike
Ultimately still unwieldy
Fuel consumption further enriches oil companies
Third-row seats are only for kids

The SQ7, Audi's most powerful seven-seater SUV, defies all logic and reason. But that's exactly what makes it such a compelling drive.

How often have you thought that things would be better if everyone took a moment to think before they acted? Or at the very least, used more of their common sense in everyday life? 
If these thoughts resonate with you, then you are someone who makes decisions based on logic and reason. You have a very practical nature as well.

When it comes to automobiles, the Germans are well-known for their engineering focus. You want more design flair? Look elsewhere, because being sensible comes first.

But being logical isn't always the norm. There are times when German engineers are allowed to let their hair down, don ripped jeans and quaff a few beers during lunch. When engineers have fun, a car like the Audi SQ7 emerges from the factory.

An SQ-what?

The large wheels look good and more importantly, provide enough clearance to house the dinner plate-size brake rotors
It resembles a regular Q7 from afar, but the SQ7 is actually Audi’s most powerful seven-seater SUV. Indeed, it is more than a Q7 on steroids.

Keen-eyed observers will notice the car's huge 21-inch wheels (standard) and equally large brake discs lurking behind them. These measure 400mm in front and 350mm in the rear.

If these cues are still too 'tame', then the quad-exhausts should certainly raise some eyebrows.

In Audi's world, the S variants sit between the brand's regular cars and its fiery RS models. But calling the SQ7 a 'high-performance Q7' is putting it mildly.

Quad-exhaust system looks good and sounds even better, especially when the V8 is stretched 
'Mild' is not how you’d describe something with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that kicks out 500bhp and a mountain-flattening 770Nm. By the way, the full torque is available from just 2,000rpm.

Paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the 2,265kg SQ7 can crush the century sprint in 4.1 seconds. This is a tank with the acceleration of a sports car.

And it sounds good, too. Though subdued, the V8 motor and exhaust emit enough audible burbles and throaty notes to put a smile on the driver’s face.

A relatively nimble experience

The SQ7 goes like stink, but it rides really well thanks to the standard sport air suspension
On paper, the SQ7 seems like an unwieldy car to drive, but its standard kit includes sport air suspension and quattro all-wheel steering, which make it surprisingly agile.

The air suspension controls the dampers and can adjust the SUV’s ride height by up to 90mm.

Still, this is not the car you'd choose for carving up mountain roads or flinging around slalom courses. But for something so massive, it is more manoeuvrable than expected.

Primarily responsible for this is the all-wheel steering, which gives the SQ7 a smaller than expected turning radius in multi-storey carparks by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front ones at low speeds. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels, enhancing the SQ7's stability.

A laugh and a riot

SQ7's potent powerplant has a fondness for unleaded - I only averaged 5km/L over four days
Driving the SQ7 is surprisingly easy, what with 500bhp under your right foot.

From any speed, the V8 motor pulls with the force of a freight train, making the SUV feel smaller and lighter than it actually is. If you're brave (or foolish) enough, pinning the accelerator to the floor will pin you to your seat as the SQ7 attempts to overtake the horizon.

Every time you wonder if a 500bhp sports utility vehicle is actually necessary, the car gives you another reason to just shake your head and chuckle aloud. You may not like its handling, but if you're a petrolhead, its sheer power is nevertheless something to admire.

Interior build quality is solid, and the MMI infotainment system is easy to get the hang of and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay
When you're done surprising unsuspecting drivers of sports cars and hot hatches, the SQ7 doesn’t mind being driven at a third of its potential. The absence of road noise makes this a relaxing place to be in at the end of a long work day.

Bells and whistles in the cabin include Audi's MMI navigation plus, a head-up display and virtual cockpit plus.

Ventilated front seats with massage functions ($1,390) and Carbon Vector trim ($4,726) can be optioned to further enhance the interior's comfort and sportiness.

Driving an SQ7 tells others you're prepared to forgo your sensibilities for a good time
That said, MPVs do a better job of ferrying people, a big sedan feels even more luxurious, while a sports coupe (or rapid estate, in Audi's case) is what would please most drivers.

Reason and common sense are good for the world. But sometimes you need to forget them to have fun. So, undo a few shirt buttons and wear ripped jeans to work. Have a few drinks at lunchtime.

Driving a 500bhp, 2.2-tonne SUV with neck-snapping acceleration defies logic. Nobody actually needs an SQ7, but the fun it brings is what makes it so compelling.
In the market for a super sporty SUV? Here are some other models to consider:

The Audi e-tron S Sportback has three electric motors and mind-bending acceleration

The supercharged Jaguar F-Pace SVR is for those who like their cars unhinged

The Maserati Levante Trofeo has a glorious engine and an exotic feel
Car Information
Audi SQ7 4.0 TFSI qu Tip 7-Seater (A)
Rate it


: $510,951

Engine Type


V8 Bi-Turbocharged

Engine Cap





373kW (500 bhp) / 5500 rpm



770 Nm / 4000 rpm



8-speed (A) Tiptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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